RACINE — The crumbling brick building at 1516 Washington Ave. is gone.
But the cost of tearing down the structure has turned out to be twice what aldermen thought it would be when they signed off on the work late last year.
The city solicited bids to have the building torn down in November after it was discovered that part of the façade was separating from the main structure.
The low bid from Azarian Wrecking came in at $26,209. The bill for the job, however, has risen to roughly $52,350, city Purchasing Agent Kathy Kasper said this week.
The city has already paid about $20,000 of the cost, she said.
According to Chief Building Inspector Ken Plaski, the extra work was needed to help seal up the side of Racine Merchandise Mart, 1512 Washington Ave. The store shared a wall with the former building.
“It was all inter-laced. We couldn’t leave the building in that condition. We had to seal it back up with masonry,” Plaski said.
Although change orders for public works projects must be approved by the City Council, change orders for purchase orders do not, Kasper said. They go through the department level, she said, but are typically rare.
“This was kind of a unique project,” Kasper said. “Before demolition it was difficult to tell where the buildings were intertwined. It even says that in the bid document. We knew there would be additional money spent on that contract.”
Although the city is paying for the demolition, it still plans to bill the building’s owners — HPG Management LLC and PHG Management LLC — for the cost. Located in Greenwood Village, Colo., the companies purchased the building during a foreclosure sale in 2011.
Mayor John Dickert said last year that tearing down the building was not only necessary to keep people safe, but part of a new effort to crack down on delinquent property owners in the city.
Plaski said Wednesday that the companies had not yet been invoiced for the work, but would be.
In the meantime, the money will be coming out of the building department’s demolition budget.